Cam Smith said having more time to return home to Australia was another reason he joined LIVGetty Images
” according to Tom Minear of THE AUSTRALIAN. While the PGA Tour has “tried to shake up its format in recent weeks to fight against LIV…Smith said there was nothing they could have done to keep him”. He revealed top players and even PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan “have reached out in a bid to keep him there, and while there’s been ‘a lot up in the air’ in recent weeks , he was “really thrilled” to join LIV. .” Smith said of the new tour: “It’s the future of golf. I love the way it is here. I think that needs to change, especially as our golf fans get younger. I think we have to do something to make it exciting for I think it’s been the same for a very, very long time and it needs to be stirred up a bit” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/1). Ryan Lavner of GOLF CHANNEL again noted that Smith “recognized that the limited schedule will allow him to spend more time each year at his home in Australia” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/31). In Boston, Julia Benbow notes with the “lucrative signing bonus, playing for LIV Golf gave her luxuries the PGA Tour couldn’t” (Boston Globe, 9/1). Golf Channel’s Tripp Isenhour said: “Are there different ways for players to get paid, different ways for top players to get more recognition? Yes golf absolutely needed this and the Tour responded and responded and hopefully it wakes up the players and says they have more power collectively” (“Golf Central”, Golf Channel, 8/31).
HEADING TO OZ: MORNING READ’s Alex Miceli noted that Smith and fellow Aussie Marc Leishman “seemed genuinely excited to make the move”. Leishman “seems to be at the back of his career”. And Smith, “considered a homebody by many who know him, is looking forward to a reduced schedule, but more importantly, the two friends are excited to hop on a plane and fly down.” Smith is “looking forward to bringing LIV to Australia”. Smith said of a LIV event in Australia: “We are working on it. I think it would be great for Australian golf. I think Australia needs another event. A few years ago we we lost the Aussie Masters, and to bring this new, exciting format for Australia, I think, will be embraced” (SI.com, 8/31).
MAJOR IMPLICATIONS: GOLF.com’s Sean Zak noted that although many LIV signatories “would prefer to see a change in the system, joining LIV implies acceptance that they might not play at the majors at all”. Bubba Watson “admitted this dilemma on Wednesday”. Currently, “only a select few LIV golfers qualify for the 2023 Masters, the next men’s major.” “The relative indifference to being in or out of major tournaments is a mindset that a number of LIV golfers have apparently embraced, but discussions of the subject are often accompanied by the belief that ‘some kind of decision is inevitable’ (GOLF.com, 8/31). Two-time Masters winner Watson said of the invite: “If they (Augusta National) tell me I can’t go, (even as a former champion), then I don’t want to be there. anyway because that’s just the wrong way to look at it” (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/31). James Colgan of GOLF.com wrote “no one outside the gates of Augusta National, not even members of the OWGR Board of Directors, can decide who deserves an invitation to the Masters”. The “only invitation among golf majors, Augusta National has carte blanche control over who competes each year” (GOLF.com, 8/31).
NO INCONVENIENCE? In Australia, Will Swanton notes that Smith “took a 30 minute phone call from Ernie Els” the night he won the Open Championship. The story “goes to Els spending a grand total of one minute congratulating Smith on getting the Claret Jug, then 29 minutes trying to talk him out of joining LIV Golf.” But as the Open champion, Smith “obtains an exemption in all majors for at least the next five years.” That’s all that matters.” Swanton: “The downside? There were none. All Smith misses are the PGA Tour events. So what?” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/1).
MONEY TALKS: In Boston, Ben Volin notes that LIV signer Harold Varner III pointed out that his wife “clarified” why he should join the Saudi-backed series. Varner said, “My wife is like, (expletive) everyone. Do whatever you want to do.” Volin: “Here you go. The perfect tagline for the upstart golf series. (expletive) everyone. Do what you want.Gamers who have jumped to LIV over the past five months have “twisted themselves into pretzels trying to justify the move. Varner” has finally put an end to this nonsense. “LIV” is growing in stature for a reason: the silver. Lots and lots of money” (Boston Globe, 9/1). But Varner also said of the reaction to his signing, “It’s terrible. I hate to be hated. I’d rather not even be known than be hated” (WASHINGTON POST, 9/1). In Sydney, Andrew Webster writes that Smith should confirm his move was for “money, which Smith initially did until someone – presumably [LIV CEO Greg] Norman – shoved the Kool-Aid down his throat.” Norman “has been sticking with it for a while now.” After telling Golf Digest on Tuesday that $140 million was an “offer too good to turn down, Smith had radically changed from your Thursday morning, denying that his decision was ‘first and foremost a business decision'” (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/1).
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Golf HOFer Gary Player this week spoke out against LIV. He said, “How can you be a champion playing a round with 54 holes and no cut? What kind of tour is this? 54 holes, no cut, a team event that no one understands. It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They lack the confidence that they can be winners. It will never compare to the regular tour. No chance” (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/31). Golf Channel’s Jaime Diaz said: “It’s almost a bit of a generational shift where you see a bit less grind in today’s Tour players. Not all of course, champions always have bite. But there are more who wonder ‘Is it really worth it?’ And that’s why LIV has become attractive” (“Golf Central”, Golf Channel, 8/31).